The Gym in January: People Watching Gold.

I love people watching. I always have. One of my favorite classes in college was an interpersonal communication class, in which the teacher sent us out one day with instructions to watch people – and then report back the next class (I’m pretty sure we were looking for something specific, but it’s been like 12 years, so give me a break). The gym can be a great place to people watch – for numerous reasons. And it tends to be even better in January.

Tonight’s post was inspired by the girl I witnessed doing something that looked like a cross between the Chicken Dance and jumping jacks. Now, I’ve taken a lot of classes (and taught a lot of classes) that required me to do some odd thing from time to time. But in the middle of the gym? Not usually. Which got me thinking about some of the top “what are they thinking?” moments I’ve encountered throughout the years.

Cirque du Soleil. Now that football and pool season is behind us, I’m not getting to the gym quite as early on Saturday mornings … but for a while there, I’d get a (people-watching) treat on my way out. There were three people who, for some unknown reason, would practice what I can only describe as Cirque du Soleil … in the middle of the cardio floor. Not in a studio, not even in a somewhat less-traveled space, but right in front of the escalators to the cardio floor. Weird.

Old Lady REALLY Likes Her Weights. This one dates all the way back to my Clemson old bookstore while the real gym is under renovation days. This woman enjoyed lifting weights. REALLY enjoyed lifting her weights (think Meg Ryan in “When Harry Met Sally”). It was uncomfortable to be around. I may still have nightmares.

Competition Prep. I get that fitness competitions require participants to strut around in a couple sequins and sky-high heels that would make a stripper blush.  But do you really need to “practice” (strut around) the gym floor? At least go into a studio. And please… keep the lights dim. Because I can’t decide if I want my body to look like yours or I want to give you my sweatshirt.

Overzealous exercisers. Yesterday morning, I saw a guy I actually feared would fly off of the elliptical he was working – at about 100 miles an hour. Here’s the thing … the resistance is adjustable on those things. You’re going to get more out of it if you slow it down and add some resistance.

Sweaty twins. For a while there, I thought there was only one of them … but they are in fact two. These girls spend at least an hour on the stepmill, going pretty quickly, and sweating EVERYWHERE. Never a towel in sight. Wearing long sleeves. Mind you, these girls are extremely thin. There is no reason they need to be working that hard or losing any extra water weight.

So … what have you seen around the gym? Is January your favorite people watching time, with all the Resolutioners running (or panting, or wandering confusedly) around the gym?

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21 thoughts on “The Gym in January: People Watching Gold.

  1. Overzealous exercisers – I witnessed the exact same thing leaving the gym this morning. Bloke wearing jean shorts and an AC/DC t’shirt. I was packing my bag (ok staring at him) for a good 3 or 4 minutes and when he finished he was puffing and panting like he’d run a 1/2 marathon.

      • I was meaning to reply to you again this morning. I saw said gentleman again today and he was in cargo shorts and what looked like a business type shirt (wasn’t 100% sure though). Very interesting man. I should ask to train with him 😉

      • Oh, no … that reminds me of another one … the guys in work boots. Really? Oh, and I’m not sure if they’re still up, but once upon a time my gym had a sign that said “no jeans.” If you are able to work out in jeans, you are clearly not working too hard.

  2. I love people-watching. I have three favourite people I have seen around the gym who I refer to as:
    “Grey tights” – an extremely muscular man in grey tights. I had no idea what his face looked like for weeks.
    “Ponytail beard” – a man with his beard in a pony tail.
    “Pig man wrestler” – A big man who grunts very loudly when he lifts. I may have imagined this wrestler suit on him because no one recalls him wearing one…
    Loved this post! Love your blog 🙂 xx

    • Haha, these are great!! When I lived in Illinois my favorite was the guy who had clearly been wearing the same style of gym clothes since the 80s. And he had a ponytail and you could always smell him coming.

  3. Haha, I love this! My gym is undergoing renovation AND it’s January, so it feels weirdly cramped, even at 5AM. My favorite gym people are:
    -The old guys that come to row slowly for 15 minutes then socialize with each other the rest of the time.
    -The old lady who thinks the free weight area is a great place to do yoga.
    -The “bad-ass” gym couple who swaggers around with their hoodies up on their heads, carrying giant gallons of water, and never leaving the weight room.

  4. My favorite (and I’m going to hell for this) is the lady with a permmullet (permed mullet) and zuba pants who struts around the weight area. There’s also the guy who walks on the treadmill at .8 mph and bounces his rotund belly off the front of the treadmill repeatedly.

    • If you’re going to hell, I’ll probably be going with you! That makes me think of all the people who lean all over the machines or walk on the top 1/4 of the treadmill and think they’re working harder. Here’s a secret: they’re not!!

    • Oh, gosh, yes. Sometimes I just stare at them. Though apparently they’ve done studies that prove it actually does help you lift more (though not likely as much as they believe it does).

  5. The singers, the loud cell phone talkers, the mirror zit poppers…they are all such good reasons for me to go to my gym….blah!! I think people don’t have a filter sometimes in public places and act as if the gym is an extension of their double wide trailer…

  6. Haha, this is hilarious! I kind of do and don’t miss the big gyms right now! There was a lady at the 24 hour gym I worked at that would check in around 7pm and go take a nap in the locker room and then leave.

  7. I witnessed a gal stop in the middle of her strength training workout to reapply lipstick in the middle of the gym (not the locker room or restroom). There is a big mirror right by the free weights…after she finished with overhead presses, she returned the weights, applied lipstick, picked up another set of free weights and continued with her strength training.

    • Wow, seriously? I’m sure people were looking at her like she was crazy. I just accept the fact that no matter what I do in the gym, I’m going to look terrible within 10 minutes, so why bother. The only reason I even wear make-up to the gym during the week is because i go straight from work.

  8. This weeks winner. A 20 something year old kid with no idea what he’s doing in a deserted gym with nobody but me. He was obviously a newbie who would rack up weights, not use them and the. Walk away and hide by the entrance. He then picked up 2-45lb dumbells, literally pendulum swung them 3 times each arm and left. He was there again when I got there, musta remembered me cause I walked in – he left!

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